Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Dye.
Hi Jordan, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
After being named after Michael Jordan a month after his first championship and getting my first pair of Jordans while I was still in the hospital, I grew up with a passion for basketball and sneakers, which quickly led to clothing and streetwear. In jr. high and high school, I would seek out and even sometimes schedule family vacations around checking out different sneaker and clothing boutiques. I saw a lot of brands with guns, naked women, or other negative messaging and wanted to start a brand with a positive meaning, but I was in high school and did not even know it was possible to create my own clothing line. I started working at a few different sneaker boutiques in high school and into college. After calling it quits on basketball after my first year of college, I decided to explore what it took to start a clothing line, with all of my extra time. I decided upon the name Shepherd Goods and put together a few logos. The store I was working at at the time had a print shop in the back, so I decided to try getting some shirts made. I quickly realized that there was a lot more to running a clothing line than just making and selling. It was a rude awakening at first, but I started to love all there was to learn about running a business and putting my creations into the world. I set up a website and after making and selling t-shirts, hoodies and hats for about a year, I decided to start testing out different ideas and designs to wear myself. I found a seamstress and would bring her the craziest fabric patterns that I could find to turn them into buttonups with matching shorts and joggers. I had a few friends that worked in music at the timed and I was able to get Mac Miller, Chance the Rapper, Lil Durk, and Chief Keef some of my first sets. I had initially made these designs for myself, but I got such a positive response right away, so I decided to start selling some of the pieces. The designs/vibes were so different from what I was building, so I decided to start Lamb Chops as Shepherd Goods’ sister “Chop & Sew” brand, as more of my creative outlet. After much trial and error and a lot of searching, I finally found a factory in China that was able to do full production, as well as elevate the quality to another level. I have been working with them for over 7 years and went out to visit the factory and see all of the fabric, printing, full production in person. I had primarily been selling online, but once I felt more comfortable with the quality of all of the products, I began to do more pop up shops and was looking to expand to wholesale accounts. I eventually partnered on a retail location with the same sneaker store that I worked at during college from 2017-2020. The lease happened to be up at the end of 2020, mid pandemic, so I moved back to primarily online, wholesale and pop ups.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Definitely not! There are always new struggles that arise still. All of them have become learning experiences for me. I think some of the biggest struggles initially was figuring out that there were so many aspects to running the business of a clothing line, and outside of finding friends to help out here and there, until recently, I have had to handle every aspect of the business. Not only do you have to consistently put out new and fresh designs, but you have to handle the marketing, finances, web design, designing, ordering, shipping, customer service, etc… I did not realize what I was getting into right away, but jumping right into it forced me to have to learn all aspects of the business as I went. As I grew with the business, I learned what parts of the business I was good at and enjoyed, and what parts I could source out. I think another struggle was just pushing through rough patches and not quitting. There have been a lot of tough and lonely moments along the way. Whether it was pouring money into a product that did not turn out or second guessing if this was something that I could actually make a living doing. Having a close circle of friends and family in my corner, encouraging me, has helped me overcome these doubts or frustrations and stick with it.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
From the start of Shepherd Goods and the follow up launch of Lamb Chops, I have worked hard to make sure my clothing line brings the customer quality outerwear with a positive message and vibe. I have specialized in developing different products and pieces to grow the brand. I have branched from tees, hoodies and hats to shorts, sweats, jackets, necklaces, rugs, passport holders, etc. and am always looking at new ideas. All of the zippers are cleavers. I am most proud of staying true to the brand and to my customers by sticking with the business even when things have not gone as planned. There have been rough times, but I have been able to persevere and have seen greater success and growth over time. One thing that I think sets me and my brands apart is that they are welcomed and enjoyed across demographics and my brand brings together different generations, different ethnic backgrounds and different socioeconomic groups. While my target audience and personal interests cater more to the hip-hop/rap, athlete, streetwear crowd, I have parents, grandparents and kids of all different races, beliefs, status, artists, athletes, professionals, amateurs all wearing my brands and enjoying the experience of being part of the Shepherd Goods/Lamb Chops community. I have professional athletes and musicians that wear my gear as well as high school kids and parents. Pop up shops are a fun time, where all different people come together for a common reason.
Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
COVID-19 has added a new dimension to every aspect of life and as an entrepreneur, there were definitely unique challenges and lessons learned. I was sub-leasing some retail space when the pandemic hit and we had to close the store during the initial lockdowns. With all that was going on in Minneapolis, the store was vandalized multiple times over a few day span, and ultimately we never reopened and did not renew the lease. My lesson was to stay flexible and adaptable. I also spent time giving back in the community and learned how important it is to be there to help others in need. I relied on my online business during that time and then as the pandemic restrictions started to ease I started doing pop-up shops. I found these were really well received and gave people a chance to come together again and opened up a good avenue for me to release new products as well as clear out inventory with specials. In retrospect, losing the retail space actually led to a good business outcome and this difficult time helped me be more appreciative of my customers and my community.
- Basic Shepherd Goods Sweatshirts – $50
- Premium Mesh & Sweat Shorts – $65 each
- Premium Sweatshirts & Sweatpants – $80 each
- Premium Ultra Durable T-Shirts – $50
- Gold Plated Cleaver Chain – $50
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: SGLambChops.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/sglambchops
- Facebook: Facebook.com/sglambchops
- Twitter: twitter.com/sglambchops